The first book that I ever read, apart from a comic, was a book titled 'The Secret Of The Silver Dolphin'. It was a book about two girls who embark on an adventure that soon turns into a mystery as they try to find the lost inheritance of their friend. I finished the book in a single sitting from dawn to dusk. Back then, while I was young, it would take time to finish any book. Because, like I said, this was the first proper book that I ever read. It has been decades since that day, but I remember the story with pristine clarity. The main protagonists even though were teenage girls, were brilliant! The story flowed with such an ease and the thrill was something else altogether for a first timer like me back then. Just when I thought that Carolyn Keene was the best author in the world and her books were the best thing to happen to me, I discovered another author called Agatha Christie.
While I was just discovering reading, plays were an interesting concept. I remember begging my librarian at school to lend me the Shakespearean books that were written in the form of plays. While she denied at first, she later caved in. Since I took very good care of the book and returned them on time, she was very happy and very very kind. I ended up reading all of the Shakespearean plays back to back. Once done, I was still not over with the concept of plays. There is something very lively about reading a play. It's like being in a 3D book, where you can see the scene to its exact detail. Right from the heat of the fireplace, to the smoke coming out the chimney from the house on the hill. As I was walking around the school library looking for more books, my eyes fell on 'The Mousetrap'. It apparently was the longest running English play in history, and I almost immediately took the book home.
Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap', made me fall in love with it from the first page. Rather from the first word of scene one. The description of every scene was so precise and neat that I could watch it unfold right in front of my eyes. Right from the oak chest in the center of the hall up right, to the stool on the the stairs on the left, I felt like I was seated in all of those. While the story revolved around a lot of characters, the murder was never forgotten for once. The mystery intensified with every page and it kept me guessing with every word. When it ended, I was in love. With the story second, but first with the author.
I loved the book so much that I saved up money to buy a book with a set of her plays. Titled 'The Mousetrap And Selected Plays', this book was a prized possession. Apart from the one I'd already read there were three other mysteries and each one was better than the other. I lost that book during the course of time, but a few years ago I found the exact copy and bought it immediately. I must have re-read it about a hundred times now, but every time I read it I have felt the goosebumps and have fallen in love with the writing over and over again. While I haven't read any Miss Marple tales yet, I have loved and enjoyed the mysteries of Hercule Poirot. As and when I have got a chance to read an Agatha Christie book, I have never missed it. Once I remember walking around a book store and reading an entire book of hers while pretending to look over other books as I did not have enough money to buy it.
Very recently, I came across some illustrated books of hers at my favorite bookstore. These books are a treasure and occupy the favorite corner of my book shelf. While the story and writing in itself is brilliant, watching it with a face to the characters is quite something else. There is not a single book of Agatha Christie that I have not enjoyed. Sure, I have loved some more than others but never not liked one. She has a huge role to play when it comes to inculcating reading in me and helping me improve my language and vocabulary. Till date, Agatha Christie books are the comfort read for me. I can re-read all of them any number of times and enjoy it with the same amount of thrill and enthusiasm.
Agatha Christie, you will always be my hero!